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Honoring those who served should be more than just a holiday observance

Hutchinson Herald of Menno, South Dakota

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Next week Wednesday, Nov. 11, marks Veterans Day. It is a federal holiday that is observed annually to honor people who have served in the United States Armed Forces, who are also known as veterans. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also marks the anniversary of the end of World War I. The current Veterans Day holiday arose out of another holiday called Armistice Day.

While similar in vision, it should not be confused with Memorial Day, which is a day to remember the men and women who served after they have passed on. Veterans Day, on the other hand, celebrates the service of all United States military veterans.

Although there are 365 days in a year, it is often only on these two days that people stop and pause to reflect on the sacrifice and service of those who make up the rank and file of our military forces. Both days feature ceremonies on scales large and small, local and national and somber and celebratory. But when the day is over, most return to their daily lives without much thought about those who put on the uniform until the next designated holiday comes around.

There are many days to think about the security the United States Armed Forces and the men and women who make up those entities. Besides Veterans Day and Memorial Day, there is of course Independence Day and even Presidents Day, both patriotic federal holidays connected closely with the formation and political history of the United States.

But when reviewing the calendar for a suitable day to pay respects to members of the military, it becomes clear that anytime between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 is an appropriate time to offer thanks to those in uniform for stepping up to the plate and taking on a challenge many prefer not to take. The men and women of the armed forces defend the Constitution and fight the enemies of the state so that Americans from coast to coast can live free lives as free people.

It is not always easy. The work and dedication required is extreme, and sometimes a soldier is called on to make the ultimate sacrifice. And over the years, thousands have laid down their lives so that the greater good may thrive at home in the United States. That sacrifice continues almost every day, right up through modern times.

So take the time this Veterans Day to find a way to honor those who served. Then make sure to find a way to honor them every day, as two days a year is not enough.

This editorial is the opinion of Hutchinson Herald news editor Erik Kaufman.

Copyright 2015 Hutchinson Herald, Menno, South Dakota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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